The UFC is once again making national headlines; only this time it has nothing to do with Conor McGregor’s promotion schedule.
Indeed, the UFC is reportedly interested in selling its business and, according to sources, is in advanced talks with at least four bidders, including WWE/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group. The UFC is reportedly valued at upwards of $4 billion.
Dana White has denied the report, but is it possible he’s looking to sell the business?
“Well, that’s very tough to say,” MMA Noise host Mike Straka said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I’ve spoken to some folks very close (to the situation), and all they say is, ‘Don’t believe everything you read.’ As you know, Dana White has always said this about the media: They all think they know what’s going on, but nobody knows what’s going on except us – us meaning Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and Dana White. That’s proved right time and time again.”
But what if this time it doesn’t?
“We’re talking about a company that was purchased in 2001 for $2 million and now it’s valued at $4 billion,” Straka said in disbelief. “Let me ask you: If the UFC went public, what would the street value (be)? If four private companies are bidding at $4 billion, what if Goldman Sachs, who’s reportedly representing the UFC in the sale, took them public?”
UFC’s already-high value would skyrocket.
Still, Straka isn’t sold on the report.
“I’m very skeptical,” he said. “You know as well as I do that they’re very close to the vest with what they’re doing. It’s a private company. The only thing that I could actually say that might make this credible was they blew off Conor McGregor so easily for UFC 200. It’s kind of like, ‘Hey, you’re like a pimple on my butt right now, Conor. You have no idea what’s going on, so guess what? We don’t need you.’ That might be the only indication of this report having an inkling of credibility.”
The UFC reportedly made $600 million in revenue last year. The Fertitta brothers each have an alleged net worth of $1.6 billion, while the UFC has several minority investors, including White.
There are a lot of pieces to this pie, and all of them are big.
“Anything is possible with the UFC,” Straka said. “If I were them, I would cash out. If I were Dana White, I would take $400 million. He reportedly owns nine percent of the company. That’s a pretty good cash out. Plus he’s probably worth a little over $100 million himself. And not to mention Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta – this is a big pay day for something that was a passion to turn out to be such a great investment. Don’t forget: Lorenzo Fertitta went to (NYU’s) Stern Business School. He’s not just some guy from Las Vegas who owns casinos. He’s a very smart man. He has an MBA from Stern, his brother’s a very smart business guy, these guy have done this stuff time and time again – nothing would surprise me. However, again, this could be just a great way to get the street’s attention, and if there’s an IPO, that IPO could be worth $10 billion. Never mind $6 billion, never mind $4 billion. It could be worth $20 billion. So it’s just very difficult for me, at this time, to say this is true.”